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Rediff.com  » Business » Rail fare hike drowns BJP bid to counter negative views

Rail fare hike drowns BJP bid to counter negative views

June 24, 2014 15:12 IST

Rail fare hike drowns BJP bid to counter negative views

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Archis Mohan in New Delhi

It has barely been a month after the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance formed the government at the Centre, but the government has already found itself battling several controversies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party believes its point of view hasn’t reached the people as convincingly as it should have.

Therefore, to redeem itself from bad publicity, the party is reviving its outreach to the electorate through mainstream as well as social media.

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Image: The Bharatiya Janata Party believes its point of view hasn't reached the people as convincingly as it should have.
Photographs: Reuters

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Rail fare hike drowns BJP bid to counter negative views

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The BJP's outreach had been immensely successful in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections but was stopped immediately after the government took charge.

The BJP has also woken up to the fact that all its best spokespersons are now part of the government.

These include Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar and Piyush Goyal.

All of them, including senior leader Arun Jaitley, are now too busy handling their ministerial portfolios to be able to devote time to the BJP’s daily press conference.

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Image: The BJP has also woken up to the fact that all its best spokespersons are now part of the government.
Photographs: Reuters

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Rail fare hike drowns BJP bid to counter negative views

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According to sources, the BJP decided to aggressively react to negative developments like the allegation of rape on its minister Nihalchand Meghwal, perception of rising prices of essential commodities, controversy over the BJP’s reported move to remove some governors and reports that the party was mulling forming a government in Delhi by engineering splits in rival parties.

All the BJP spokespersons had met Jaitley last Thursday.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Rail fare hike drowns BJP bid to counter negative views

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Spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain indicated that the meeting of the spokespersons with Jaitley was likely to become a regular affair.

“Jaitley has briefed us on the issues concerning the nation and in future also we will keep meeting him for further discussions,” said Hussain.

Others who met Jaitley included M J Akbar, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Shrikant Sharma.

Hussain addressed a press conference on Friday.

It was the first by the party after it formed the government.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Rail fare hike drowns BJP bid to counter negative views

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Hussain attempted to counter some of the criticism against the party.

He said the National Democratic Alliance government has been extremely proactive on trying to check price rise.

It has taken quick decisions to rein in inflation by planning a crackdown on hoarders, offloading five million metric tonnes of foodgrain, etc.

He talked about the government’s people-friendly decisions such as reducing Rs 23 on LPG cylinders and put forth its point of view on the issue of governors and allegations of rape on its minister Meghwal.

However, the railway passenger and freight rate rise gave the opposition a handle to beat the government.

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Photographs: Reuters

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The BJP tried to put the blame on the previous United Progressive Alliance government for having postponed the hike that forced the Modi government to take the tough decision.

The Congress tried to checkmate the government by digging out tweets and comments that Modi made criticising a similar fare hike by the UPA government in January 2013.

The outreach

The BJP will react to

  • Allegation of rape against minister Nihalchand Meghwal
  • Perception of rising prices
  • Reported move to remove some governors

Photographs: Reuters

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